Linux creator unveils a way to track who wrote what code

To rebut The SCO Group's claims on his brainchild, Linux creator Linus Torvalds says he plunged into a bit of detective work. The endeavor to prove who wrote what code and when for his freely distributed rival to the predominant Microsoft Windows convinced Torvalds the Linux family tree needs to be easier to read if it is to weather any future storms over its origins.

On Monday, he unveiled the equivalent of a pruning hook: the new Developer's Certificate of Origin. The DCO, Torvalds said, will better identify contributors and the legality of their offerings, providing a clearer -- and less assailable -- Linux pedigree. While admitting SCO's ongoing lawsuits challenging Linux's purity were a factor in development of the DCO, Torvalds denied his proposal was any sort of acknowledgement of the Lindon software company's allegations that its proprietary Unix code had been misappropriated by Linux developers.

"It is not that difficult, per se" to unearth contributors and the source of code in Linux, Torvalds said. "But it is time-consuming to track down especially older stuff. We did some tracking of code from over 12 years ago, and it was a lot more work than it should have been." Nonetheless, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said the proposal was an admission that "the Linux gatekeepers [had done] little to verify the cleanliness of the code that was being submitted."

News source: The Salt Lake Tribune

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